The name’s William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m retired now, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world. I answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are working on the New York Times crossword in any other publication, you are working on the syndicated puzzle. Here is a link to my answers to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword. To find any solution other than today’s, enter the crossword number (e.g. 1225, 0107) in the “Search the Blog” box above.
This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today …
COMPLETION TIME: No idea! (watching Ireland beat England in the rugby international!!)
THEME: EASE-E DOES IT … replacing “A” with “E” in common phrases
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
9 APSE: The word apse actually comes via Greek from the Latin word for arch or vault, “absis”.
18 ANNE: William Shakespeare was of course married to Anne Hathaway. There are suggestions that there was some pressure for the marriage to take place, with 18-year-old Anne pregnant, and William eight years her senior. The two lived much of their lives apart, with William working in London, and Anne back at the family home in Stratford.
19 IAGO: Iago is indeed the schemer, in Shakespeare’s “Othello“.
21 ARRET: “Arret” is the French word for a stop.
27 ASSISI: St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228. Construction of the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi started immediately after the canonization, and finished 25 years later. The Basilica is now a United Nations World Heritage Site.
28 NCIS: NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. I’ve never seen the television show, but I do enjoy Mark Harmon’s performances.
40 FRED ALLEN: Fred Allen and Jack Benny were very close friends, but they milked a long-running gag feud between the two of them for ten years on the radio.
42 TOMEI: Marisa Tomei won her Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992. “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is a 2007 crime drama, which takes it’s name from an old Irish saying, “May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re dead”. That kind of words that prove we all do in fact kiss the Blarney Stone …
46 REPRO: Repro is short for “reproduction proof”, which is one of the final stages in the non-digital printing process. A repro is a fine quality proof of text and images, of high enough quality to be photographed for the making of a printing plate…
49 MANX: I’ve seen them. They’re all over the Isle of Man. Manx cats have no tails.
57 MYLAR: Mylar is a brand name for a polyester film with many uses, one of which is to make reflective surfaces. Mylar can be used to make reflective solar sail, which are a fascinating form of spacecraft propulsion. Believe it or not, reflecting photons of light each provide a small amount of thrust, and enough of them can propel an object in the vacuum of space.
60 CENTS: When I was growing up, we put in our “tuppence worth” or “two pennies worth” when giving an opinion. I found it interesting that when I came to America, the same expression was used, but with a currency exchange!
61 ZADORA: The 1982 film “Butterfly” has quite a cast. Pia Zadora got to work with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel “The Butterfly” by James M. Cain, and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.
68 ALLES: Like many, I thought that Germany’s national anthem was called “Deutschland Uber Alles”. In fact, these are just words from the refrain. The anthem is called “Das Lied der Deutschen” (“the Song of the Germans”) with words put to music written by Joseph Haydn in 1797.
69 ALICE: Falstaff is a character that appears in three of Shakespeare’s plays, a fat and cowardly knight. Verdi took the character, and elements from two of Shakespeare’s plays, in creating his comic opera “Falstaff“. Alice Ford is one of the two women that Falstaff tries to seduce in order to get at their husband’s money.
73 RANI: A Rani is the female equivalent to, or wife of, a Raja. Raja is the Hindustani word for “monarch”.
78 BOGART: Humphrey Bogart’s break-through movie was “The Petrified Forest” from 1936, but for me, nothing beats “Casablanca“. Although, if you haven’t seen it, check out the original “Sabrina” from 1954, a real delight.
79 OBIES: The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. They are given annually, and decided by “The Village Voice” newspaper.
81 LON: Lon Chaney did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earned him the nickname of “the man of a thousand faces”. Most famous of all was portrayal of “The Phantom of the Opera” in 1925.
82 GARRETS: A garret is a room on the top floor of a house, under a gabled roof. It can be another word for an attic.
85 H-TEST: The first test of a hydrogen bomb was in 1954 at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It may have been a technical success, but it was an environmental disaster, largely because the actual yield of 15 megatons was unexpected (4-6 megatons was anticipated). The fallout caused many deaths, and led to birth defects for generations.
96 EASTON: The Lehigh Valley metropolitan area in Pennsylvania is primarily composed of the three cities, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.
103 REEL MEN … Bruce Feirstein wrote the best seller “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”, published in 1982. It’s main theme is the situation in which 1980s, middle-class men found themselves, after feminist attacks on traditional male roles in the seventies.
1 NANU: “Mork & Mindy” was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams, of course) in a special episode of “Happy Days“. The bizarre storyline leads to Fonzie and Mork having a duel, thumb to finger. Eventually richie wakes up in bed, and it’s all a dream. Oh, and Nanu Nanu means hello back on the planet Ork. “I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu”. Great stuff …
2 ENOS: Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam.
8 MOE: Moe Berg was a mediocre baseball player in the major leagues, known for being the “brainiest man in baseball”. He spoke several languages, and read ten newspapers a day. In WWII he worked for the OSS in Yugoslavia and Italy, in particular picking up information on the German nuclear program. After the war, he worked occasionally for the CIA, but he spent the last two decades of his life out of work, living off family. Sad …
11 SAKI: Hector Hugh Munro was a British writer, actually born in Burma. He was most famous for his short stories, which he published using the pen name “Saki”.
14 ARE: The Who’s “Who Are You” is used as the them song for the TV show “CSI“. Other songs by the Who are used as theme songs for the spin-offs as well, “CSI: New York” and “CSI: Miami“. And the Who played them all during the half-time show at the last Super Bowl.
24 WALES: The dragon on the Welsh flag is the red dragon of Cadwalder, Kng of Gwynned.
34 ODIE: Odie is Garfield’s best friend, and a beagle.
50 ALOP: The word “alop” turns up in crosswords a lot. It clearly means “crooked”, presumably as in “lop-sided”.
51 NARA: Nara, located not far from Kyoto, was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784.
59 MIEN: One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. Mien shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.
61 ZAIRE: Zaire is a neighbor of Rwanda, and the genocide and war there slipped over into Zaire in 1996. The trouble escalated into what is now called the First Congo War. as part of the war’s fallout, there was a regime change, and in 1997 Zaire changed its name to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
63 TRES: Los Tres Reyes Magos … the Three Wise Men.
66 BLAISE: Blaise Pascal was an important French mathematician and physicist, who lived in the mid-1600s. In math, his name was given to Pascal’s triangle, a triangle of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers above it.
68 ALGER: Horatio Alger was an American writer of the late nineteenth century. He was a prolific writer of novels for young people, telling tales of poor children making it good in the world, achieving the American Dream as it were.
78 BREE: Bree is played by Marcia Cross on “Desperate Housewives” (never seen an episode!). During pre-production, the show was called “Wisteria Lane” and then “The Secret Lives of Housewives”. It’s hugely popular, all over the world.
86 THE FIRM: “The Firm” is the book that brought John Grisham his first success, although it was the second novel that he wrote. The first was “A Time to Kill“, which garnered a lot more attention after “The Firm” took off. Personally, my favorite of his novels is “Runaway Jury“.
99 ATOM: Well, I would argue that it’s actually bits of atoms that are accelerated in particle accelerators. Atoms aren’t charged. Maybe I am just being argumentative …
100 OCTO: Octomom is the name the media gave to Nadya Doud-Suleman Gutierrez. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the birth of her octuplets in 2009, with the aid of in vitro fertilization. She already had six children, and was unemployed and using public assistance programs.
101 RHEO: A rheostat is an electrical device that can offer a varying degree of resistance to current flow. The English physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone first coined the term, using the Greek “rheos” meaning “flowing stream” and “stat” meaing “regulating device”.
104 LEO: Leo McGarry was played very ably by John Spencer. If you haven’t seen them, the early series’ of “The West Wing” are just fabulous. I think I learned so much about the workings of the American government through this TV show.